Rupa Goswami has supplied a verse from his Ujjvala-nilamani as the basis of the proper understanding of Krishna-lila. When we think about the Pastimes of the Absolute, we, the finite, will have to wear this armour: aher iva gatih premnah svabhava-kutila bhavet. We must understand that Krishna’s Pastimes are naturally crooked, just like the movement of a snake. A snake cannot move in a straight line; he moves in a zig-zag way. The waves that flow from the Absolute move in the same way. That characteristic of Krishna-lila is always maintained above everything else. Krishna can never be ruled by any law. With this initial consideration we should approach any study of the Absolute. We must always keep in mind that He is absolute, and we are infinitesimal. He is adhoksaja, transcendental, beyond the world of our experience.

Once, I asked our Prabhupad, «Why is there a difference between Sanatan and Rupa in their conception of the final part of Krishna-lila? Sanatan closed his summary of Krishna’s Pastimes in his Krishna-lila-stava in Mathura, and Rupa took it another step towards Dvaraka in his Lalita-madhava. He wrote two plays dealing with Krishna-lila: one about Dvaraka and one about Vrndavan. Vidagdha-madhava takes place in Vrndavan; Lalita-madhava takes place in Dvaraka. But Sanatan Goswami liked to complete Krishna’s Pastimes in Mathura.

According to Sanatan Goswami, after a long separation between Krishna and His family and friends, like a wheel, the Pastime moves from Mathura again to Vrndavan. After Krishna has gone to Mathura, the residents of Vrndavan, overwhelmed by separation, begin to think, «Krishna has been gone for such a long time. Nanda and Yasoda have lost their child!» The separation intensifies and develops further until they begin to think, «Oh, Nanda and Yasoda have no child!» Then, they think, «They must have a child», and begin to pray for the appearance of Krishna. Then, Krishna appears as the son of Nanda and Yasoda. The cycle is complete and everyone is happy thinking, «Oh yes, Yasoda has got a child.» In this way, Krishna’s Pastimes again begin developing in Vrndavan and move to Mathura, where He kills Kamsa.

In his Krishna-lila-stava, his summary of Krishna-lila, Sanatan Goswami did not take Krishna into Dvaraka from Mathura Mandal. But Rupa Goswami, in his play Lalita-madhava, showed the parallels between Krishna-lila in Vrndavan and Krishna-lila in Dvaraka. And so, in his Lalita-madhava, Rupa Goswami draws a parallel between Lalita as Jambavati, Radharani as Satyabhama, and Chandravali as Rukmini. In this way, he shows the transformation between Vrndavan and Dvaraka.

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